IFLA statement on privacy in the library environment
The rapid advancement of technology has resulted in increasing privacy implications for library and information services, their users, and society. Commercial Internet services, including those used to deliver library and information services, collect extensive data on users and their behaviour. They may also sell data about their users to third parties who then act on the data to deliver, monitor or withhold services. Using identification and location technology, governments and third parties can analyse a library user’s communication and activities for surveillance purposes or to control access to spaces, devices and services. Excessive data collection and use threatens individual users’ privacy and has other social and legal consequences. When Internet users are aware of large-scale data collection and surveillance, they may self- censor their behavior due to the fear of unexpected consequences. Excessive data collection can then have a chilling effect on society, narrowing an individual’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression as a result of this perceived threat. Limiting freedom of speech and expression has the potential to compromise democracy and civil engagement.